I built just one system myself, and some years have passed.. I don't find it so easy to understand anymore.
To understand where I am coming from, I have
an INTEL D925XECV2LK motherboard,
a Pentium 4 / 550 Socket 775 3.4 GhZ with its cooler from the boxed set,
4 x 512 DDR2/533 MhZ, tot 2GB,
an ASUS/Nvidia GeForce 6600 - 256MB PCI-Express,
an Antec P160 case with an Antec NeoPower 480 Power Supply,
two Seagate Barracuda SATA NCQ 150Gb each.
Yes I am from the past Now I would like to make a new build.
I use Linux exclusively, and I use the machine for software development (a lot of CPU-bound tasks like compilation), and for gaming (native and via wine).
If things are still how they were a few years ago, I think I must choose NVIDIA, since ATI drivers for Linux suck.
I was thinking NVIDIA GTX-460/1GB or 768MB, given the positive article about it some days ago.
For a new build I was considering either
1) a Phenom II x 4 955BE (is the new C3 stepping out yet?) on a Socket AM3 motherboard (.. which one??) or
2) an LGA 1156 Motherboard (..again which one??) with an Intel Core i5-750.
* I read about performance issues with LGA 1156 and PCI-E lanes.. is it still an issue with only one graphic card? Or does it affect only 2+ graphic card builds?
* on newer systems (Socket AM3 if I choose AMD, or LGA1156, or...) can I keep the current case and Power Supply? Will 480W be enough considering an NVIDIA GTX-460?
* given that I also need high GhZ for compilation, I thought about 4-cores instead of 6-cores, since I see they are generally clocked higher, and I don't expect to be able to load all 6 cores with tasks requiring lots of CPU. Do you agree?
* RAM: DDR3/1333 2GB x 4: is this the fastest setup for 8Gb? Is it 8Gb enough nowadays?
* If you have better ideas for any of the above, please share.. thanks!
2. 1156 has fewer pci lanes. the full speed for a pci lane is x16. am3 and 1366 have more lanes, and can therefore do 2 or 3 lanes in x16 atleast. 1156 has fewer, and therefore usually can only run it in x8 x8 setup. luckily, this only loses you about 5% performance. gigabyte boards also have an issue with running sata 6 and usb 3 aswell as sli or xfire at the same time, but thats a different story.
3. as far as what you say, you have 3 good options, x4 955, i5 750, and x6 1055T. you have to choose between gaming and the software development in this case.
4. 480watt psu MIGHT be enough, although it depends on brand and rail power.
5. ram goes in speed up to 2400 MHz. however, id likley recommend getting a 4 gig set of 1600 MHz, with 7 cas latency timings, thats likely plenty fast.
given a budget, and country of origin, i can get you a build.